Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is a noninvasive therapy intended to improve both long-term survival and quality of life for pets with cancer
Cancer. Just hearing the word is enough to make you cringe.
Most of us have been touched by the insidious disease in some form or fashion. Whether it has afflicted you personally or somebody you love, we hear the C-word far too often.
Fortunately, we also live in an age of amazing technology and progress. Doctors can do things today that were unheard of a decade ago. Clinical researchers are hard at work in search of a cure, determined to tip the scales in the fight against cancer. While we’re not there quite yet, advances in medicine continue to evolve at a rapid pace. A cancer diagnosis is not necessarily the death sentence it used to be.
Now, thanks to a new progressive treatment called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), that is true not only for people – but for pets too.
Veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to hear about SRS. While SRS has emerged as an integral part of human oncology over the last few decades, it has only recently become available to animals. Over the last few years, the new treatment option – and the technology to provide it – has been introduced to veterinary medicine on a broad scale for the first time. Veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to hear about SRS. While SRS has emerged as an integral part of human oncology over the last few decades, it has only recently become available to animals. Over the last few years, the new treatment option – and the technology to provide it – has been introduced to veterinary medicine on a broad scale for the first time.
An advanced form of radiation therapy, SRS represents a game-changing option for many cancer patients with tumors. The benefits over previous forms of radiation therapy are both significant and numerous.
Conventional radiation therapy typically requires 18-30 treatment sessions and targets an area of the body where a tumor is known to exist. In contrast, thanks to unprecedented technology and precision, SRS requires only 1-3 treatment sessions and delivers high-dose radiation directly to the tumor, targeting the deadly mass while mostly – or event completely – sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.
Many tumors that were previously considered “untreatable” can now be targeted through SRS – noninvasively, with no incisions or sutures. Tumors in sensitive locations such as the brain, spinal column, lungs and prostate are too dangerous for conventional radiation therapy because of the risk to the healthy anatomy surrounding the tumor. The sub-millimeter precision of SRS, on the other hand, is capable of delivering high-dose radiation directly to the tumor without damaging those critical structures.
Instead of weeks of veterinary appointments and radiation treatments, SRS patients receive their entire treatment course in 1-3 days. Including an initial CT scan required for treatment planning, patients undergo no more than four anesthetic events – 80-95% less than conventional radiation therapy. And because healthy tissue is mostly spared, the nasty side effects commonly associated with radiation are rare.
While every case is different, most patients experience immediate improvement to their quality of life and resume normal activity upon completing treatment.
Ali, an 11-year-old poodle, had to be wheeled in for treatment because of a spinal tumor that was causing paralysis to his hind legs. Three days later, he walked out of the hospital independently. Baci, a 13-year-old dog from New Jersey, was in a comatose state before undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. Within four months of SRS, he was back to winning medals at obedience competitions.
It may not be common knowledge that the incidence of cancer in pets is similar to that in humans. Statistics tell us that approximately 12 million dogs and cats will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Many of their owners, devastated by the news, will be told there is nothing they can do.
Thanks to SRS, that message is changing.
This article was provided by PetCure Oncology petcureoncology.com.